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Daniel Boone JROTC instructor teaches leadership after decades in uniform

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Oct 22, 2019 at 10:00 PM

Michael H. Gardner, a Boones Creek area native and Daniel Boone High School graduate, works as a Marine Corps JROTC instructor at the high school he attended before embarking on his military career.

Gardner, a master gunnery sergeant, previously served with the 1st Marine Division Drum and Bugle Corps (California), the 29 Palms Drum and Bugle Corps (California) and the Commandant’s Own Drum and Bugle Corps (Marine Barracks 8th and I, Washington D.C.).

“I served 16 years at 8th and I served my last eight as the Drum Major for the Drum Corps, as well as the Battle Color Detachment 1st Sergeant,” he said of his military career before his retirement in 1997. 

Today, Gardner brings his military experience to Washington County Schools so that he can help develop students’ leadership skills. 

Fast Facts: 

Hobbies: Motorcycle riding

Favorite food: Seafood

Dogs or cats: Dogs

Pet Peeves: “People driving slow in the fast lane”.

Favorite historical figure: Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

What led you to work as a JROTC instructor?

I graduated from Daniel Boone in 1975. I was a member of the JROTC during my school years, and I felt that I owed the school and Washington County for giving me my start in life as a Marine.

What is your favorite aspect of your job? 

The kids! They are a pleasure to work with every day and watch them grow from young unsure freshmen to strong confident seniors.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing schools today?

Money is always a big problem in public schools. It’s very hard to stay on the cutting edge of technology without enough funding. More funding would help achieve this endeavor.

What do you think makes your district unique? 

We are a big county, but we are still able to maintain the close county feel within the community.

What do you hope to be doing after working at Daniel Boone?

I have started a business repairing JROTC competitive marksmanship rifles, and I look forward to spending time with my wife, kids and grandkids after 45 years in uniform.

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